Seventeen hours after their team's first Super Bowl victory, Jeff Pendergast and Paul Tornetta took a quick walk down Nicollet Mall before flying home to Philadelphia.
"The greatest game of all time, of any sporting event I've ever seen in my life," Pendergast said.
"The visitors and convention bureau should be very proud of themselves. The army of volunteers really made it special for us," Tornetta added.
The two brothers-in-law put an Eagles jersey on the Mary Tyler Moore statue outside the old Dayton's department store and grinned as their sons snapped photos. After they were done, they removed the shirt, folded it up neatly and quietly went on their way.
The crowds enjoying music and sporting entertainment are headed home or back at work. The purple-clad volunteers are gone. In their place are scores of workers, using forklifts to haul off concrete street barricades, pulling apart the Birkebeiner ski bridge over Ninth Street, and dismantling the performance stage a block to the north.
Dan Woods, manager with Milwaukee-based Majic Productions, said it'll take his crew of 13 until Thursday to break down all their sound equipment.
"We did this main stage. We did the streets up and down, and we also did a couple of private parties surrounding this event," Woods said. "We've got about two-and-a-half to three semis worth of equipment going back."
Kyle Chank, operations director for the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee, oversees the packing up. The tear-down started just after Pink belted out the final note of the "Star-Spangled Banner."
Chank says the downtown thoroughfare should be cleared by the end of the week, a timeline that accounts for snow.
Reopening the area around U.S. Bank Stadium will take a bit longer, says Minneapolis Public Works director Robin Hutcheson.
"There are some streets that are very close to the stadium that will just require a bit of extra time to make sure that we can allow the host committee and the NFL and anyone else who has been in those areas a window of time to safely dismantle and unload," Hutcheson said.
Sixth Street, downtown's main connection to eastbound Interstate 94, reopened Sunday. But Hutcheson said other streets around the stadium, including Chicago Avenue, will remain closed until Feb. 17.
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